While historically courts in England and Wales have had a wide discretion to make generous awards to financially dependent former partners, there is a growing expectation for ex-spouses to become self-sufficient quickly.

Since 2014, divorce cases have increasingly considered the possibility of transition towards financial independence, even if it involves some hardship for the recipient.

It appears that in England and Wales the days are long gone when the weaker financial party could expect lifelong financial support, without examination of their earning potential and the lifestyle adjustments they could make to become self-sufficient.

Any international couple contemplating divorce should therefore be advised to consider the legislation governing spousal maintenance in their respective home jurisdictions, in order to determine which jurisdiction would be most likely to meet their expectations for financial support following the breakdown of their marriage.